Tennessee football 2018 preview by position: Vols secondary

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Micah Abernathy
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Micah Abernathy /
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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images /

Tennessee football defensive backs are a huge question heading into 2018. Here is our preview of the Volunteers cornerbacks and safeties.

The new Tennessee football staff is made up of a secondary specialist as head coach and a former Vol coaching the cornerbacks. That combination should be a good thing for this team as they get set to enter a new era.

But with a transition to a 3-4 defense this year and the departures of all of last year’s starters at cornerback, the Vols have a major rebuilding job here. Rashaan Gaulden’s early departure was devastating. Like Kahlil McKenzie, he could have helped offset this transition.

On top of that, Emmanuel Moseley, Justin Martin Evan Berry and Shaq Wiggins are all gone as well. So Tennessee football has a major rebuilding job. The good news is both major safeties return and another one is back and fully healthy. Other position conversions and depth from previous years at least give Jeremy Pruitt, Kevin Sherrer, Terry Fair and Charles Kelly something to work with.

However, make no mistake. This is the most brutal part of the transition to a 3-4. Just look at the 2012 team that made the transition. The defense gave up over 280 passing yards through the air that year, which led to a 5-7 record. This defense even showed these concerning signs in the spring, as they struggled significantly.

So now we finish our preview on the defensive side of the ball for the 2018 Vols by looking at this highly questionable unit. In this post, we’ll break things down by rotation, looking at the main rotation at cornerback and the main rotation at safety. As always, we’ll then list the backups and give a final take.

Will the secondary be as bad as it was in the spring? Is the transition to a 3-4 truly something to worry about? Do the Vols have the necessary depth to compete in the SEC? Well, here’s our take on all of that. This is our preview for the 2018 Tennessee football defensive backs.